Leah Burke bags four as England prove too strong for France
Leah Burke scored four tries of England’s 12 as they thrashed France 64-0 in the first of the international double-header in Warrington.
St Helens stalwart Jodie Cunningham led her country for the first time since being appointed captain by new head coach Stuart Barrow, who was also be taking charge of his country for the first time.
Eyes were on NRLW-bound duo Georgia Roche and Hollie-Mae Dodd, turning out for England before they become full-time professionals Down Under.
There were some popular returnees to the England fold too, in York duo Sinead Peach and Tamzin Renouf, surprisingly overlooked for the past three years.
It was a poor start from the French, who came up with an error straight from kick-off. England capitalised on the early error, and opened the scoring through winger Burke.
St Helens winger Burke got her second in the ninth minute as France struggled to deal with England’s quick passing plays.
England were making easy metres in their sets in the first half, and there was no stopping powerful front-rower Shona Hoyle from close range. Reigning Woman of Steel Tara Jane Stanley successfully kicked her first conversion of the afternoon.
In the 24th minute, York star Renouf raced down the right flank to extend England’s lead, with Stanley nailing the goal from the touchline to put her side 20-0 ahead.
St Helens winger Eboni Partington went over for England on the half hour mark thanks to a nice lay off from Renouf.
Influential full-back Stanley got her name on the scoresheet in the latter stages of the first half, in which she converted.
The Lionesses led 30-0 at half-time thanks to a very impressive first half performance.
Barrow’s side started the second half just as they did in the first. Dodd, who has recently signed professional terms in the NRLW with Canberra, burst over the line.
Leah Burke completes hat-trick
Burke completed her hat-trick in the 47th minute as she latched onto a lovely weighted chip from Stanley, but they were 40-0 up.
The impressive Dodd got her second try of the afternoon as she punched a hole in the French defence to score under the posts, with Stanley converting.
York hooker Peach marked her comeback in to the England side with a trademark scoot from dummy half. Stanley converted to put her side 52-0 in front.
Burke bagged her fourth of the afternoon in the final quarter as the rain poured down in Warrington, with Stanley again adding the extras.
Leeds powerhouse Amy Hardcastle wrapped up the victory two minutes from time. Stanley’s conversion saw England finish 64-0 at a sodden Halliwell Jones Stadium.
England: Stanley; Partington, Renouf, Hardcastle, Burke; Harris, Roche; Wood, Bennett, Hoyle, Rudge, Dodd, Cunningham. Subs: Peach, Whitfield, Field, Molyneux. 18th player: Jones. Coach: Barrow.
Tries: Burke (4), Hoyle, Renouf, Partington, Stanley, Dodd (2), Peach, Hardcastle Goals: Stanley 8
France: M Samarra; Ramazeilles, Biville, Guillerot, Canal; Pommier, Canet, Legout, Ramos, Zaghdoudi, Akpa, Kuresa, D Samarra. Subs: Michel, Menaa, Segala, Roses. 18th player: Vilanove. Coach: Maillot.
READ NEXT: Third England international confirmed as heading to NRLW
The article Leah Burke bags four as England prove too strong for France appeared first on Loverugbyleague.com.